Parade another step toward
Brockton becoming “Christmas town"
Many feel the city should capitalize on its holiday history
Photos by Marc Vasconcellos
Rick Murphy of Brockton put on his Christmas
Santa Claus is escorted on
his float by a group of
Falu Sakeho, 6,
to Santa Claus
as his float
passes on Main Street
Brooke Drass of Raynham waves to the crowd
from the Edgar Playground
float during Saturday’s annual Holiday Parade
in downtown Brockton
By Kyle Alspach
The 35-year-old lifelong city resident and father of three said he believes rebirth could come to the struggling downtown if it continues to promote its ties to Christmas history.
Many believe that James Edgar, a downtown Brockton business owner in the late 19th century, was the world’s first “department store Santa,” and the city has sought to draw new attention to the story this season.
“I think it’s awesome. I was here last Saturday for the Santa hat thing,” Reardon said, referring to an event in which hundreds of people wore Santa hats to pay tribute to Edgar. “Nostalgia’s always nice.”
The Edgar tribute and holiday parade are just the latest events in what downtown business association president John Merian hopes is a move toward making Brockton “Christmas town.”
“In the future this will bring us into a holiday-theme atmosphere, make it like yesteryear,” Merian said after the end of the hour-long parade Saturday. “Why not make it Christmas town? Look at everybody down here.”
Many thousands of spectators crowded into the Main Street area Saturday afternoon to see nearly 100 floats, marching bands and others who took part in the 24th annual parade.
A science-fiction theme pervaded a number of the groups, in keeping with the parade’s grand marshal, former “Lost in Space” star and Bridgewater resident Mark Goddard, who led the parade from the back of an open convertible.
Some floats boasted children in space-age outfits. One group consisted of a large crew dressed as characters from the Star Wars films — including Darth Vader, Chewbacca and the robot R2-D2.
Other groups stuck to a more traditional holiday theme, while marching bands from Brockton High School, Abington High School and other area schools played Christmas songs for the excited crowd.
“It brings back the other side of Christmas, reminds us that Christmas is not only shopping,” said Lisa Eloi, 37, of Stoughton, who came to see her two children marching in the parade.
“It’s also good for Brockton,” she said. “You don’t have to go all the way to Boston for a parade. Less crowded, same event.”
Diana Dolan, 54, of Brockton said she also thinks embracing Christmas is a boon for downtown Brockton.
“It’s a good idea,” she said. “It brings life back to the center.”
Kyle Alspach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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